Italy: Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

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Largely unknown prior to running, Giuseppe Conte was an academic and law professor before entering the Italian political sphere.  He graduated from La Sapienza University of Rome in 1988, where he studied law. He continued to study at various universities, including Yale Law School, Duquesne University, Cambridge, and more.  He began his career as a professor in the 1990s, teaching at Roma Tre University. He continued to teach at various universities, including LUMSA University, the University of Malta, the University of Sassari, and the University of Florence.  He stepped into politics when he was elected as a member of the Bureau of Administrative Justice in 2013. In May of this year, Conte was proposed to be the Prime Minister of Italy, representing a coalition government between the Five Star Movement and the far-right League, both political parties in Italy.  On June 1, 2018, Giuseppe Conte was sworn in as the 58th prime minister of Italy.

Despite having little political experience, Conte he has strongly advocated for various new policies, including stricter immigration policy, stronger actions to fight political corruption, and reform of the Italian tax system.  Many have dubbed him as the “new anti-elite prime minister.” The coalition of the Five Star Movement and the League, which Conte represents, is known as Government of Change.  Conte has assured the public that as part of reforming the Italian tax system, he will introduce flat tax rates for businesses and individuals in addition to creating a no-tax area for low income families.  Conte has suggested lifting the sanctions placed on Russia imposed after Russia annexed Crimea.  Conte and the coalition he leads have also placed public health reform, public water improvements, and more attention towards the environment, on their political agenda.

Prime Minister Conte attended the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, which was one of his first times taking the international stage.  While getting along the fellow leaders attending the summit, Conte took one stance that was controversial to many of the seven leaders.  He backed President Trump in his call to re-admit Russia into the G-8, in line with Conte’s suggestion that sanctions placed on Russia should be lifted.

 

“I agree with President (Trump). Russia should be re-admitted into the G8. It is in the interests of everyone,” Conte said in a Twitter post.

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